by Hadrien Rambach
Born in Rochester NY to an Alsatian immigrant butcher, George Bauer worked in the automobile business from 1904 to 1940, having founded the Genesee Motor Vehicle Company, and indulged his passion for numismatics which had started at age 12. In his twenties, he had published a price-list of copper and colonial coins. In 1914, he was elected President of the Rochester Numismatic Club. He then became a professional numismatist, conducting some thirty auctions between 1940 and 1951. He was the 17th President of the American Numismatic Association (1930-1932), and was elected to the ANA Numismatic Hall of Fame in 1969.
Greek and Roman coins of his were acquired in 1934 by the dealer B. Max Mehl, but additional silver and bronze coins were sold by Glendining’s in December 1962 and January 1963, and his US colonial coins were auctioned by Lester Merkin in November 1968.
“Most collectors are content to gather their coins via the dealer and auction route. Not so with George J. Bauer of Rochester. He prefers to pick them up first hand in their native land”, and indeed he made several trips to the Middle East and Europe with his wife. Despite John Lupia’s comment in his remarkable biography that Bauer “is especially noted as being one of the foremost authorities on ancient Greek and Roman coins and for owning one of the best collections in the world”, Bauer remains little known in Europe.
- The Numismatist, February 1925; John N. Lupia, The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies: From the 7th Century BC to 1940; Pete Smith, « American Numismatic Biographies », Jan-2017 online document, p. 23.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 91: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part I, Zurich, 23 May 2016, pp. -.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 99: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part II, Zurich, 29 May 2017, pp. 47-63.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 105: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part III, Zurich, 9 May 2018, pp. 82-105.
This article was first published in a catalogue of auction house Numismatica Ars Classica.